Equifax Data Breach: What You Should Know
September 12, 2017 - It has been about a week now since news broke of Equifax’s data breach, which happened this past summer. Potentially 44% of Americans had their personal information compromised with this data breach, which includes data pertaining to Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers, as well as credit card numbers for about 209,000 US consumers. Due to the scope of this breach, it will impact our members, and already we have seen and heard from members with questions. Here is some information you should know.
At this time, there is still a lot of unknown information regarding the Equifax breach, as well as misinformation that has spread around the internet. We feel that the following websites will provide the most comprehensive information regarding the breach to our members:
From Equifax: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com
From the State of Montana Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Protection: https://dojmt.gov/consumer/identity-theft/
We would like to remind you to be especially vigilant regarding all of your personal and financial information, not just with us, but with outside financial institutions and creditors as well. Closely monitoring your accounts will be a surefire way to catch any fraudulent attempts quickly. In addition, now is a good time to review log in and password information for all of your accounts and consider updating them.
Members may place a security freeze on their accounts, which according to the Office of Consumer Protection, is one of the most effective ways to prevent identity theft. Placing a security freeze on credit files prevents information from being shared with potential creditors. Security freezes do not impact credit scores; however, should you want to do anything that would require a credit report or background check, such as apply for a credit card, obtain a mortgage or obtain any type of financing, or complete a background check for a job or volunteer position, you need to lift the freeze on the account. It costs $3 to place a security freeze on your credit file with a specific credit bureau, and there may be additional fees if you temporarily lift a security freeze on your file. Please reference the State of Montana Department of Justice website above for more specific information on how to place a security freeze.
As a business, Montana Credit Union is transitioning to using TransUnion to pull credit on members as necessary. Historically, we have used Equifax to do this. However, in light of the data breach and the way that Equifax has responded to the incident, Montana Credit Union management feels that continuing to use Equifax as our primary credit partner is not in the best interests of our members. We are considering this breach very seriously and want our members to know that maintaining the privacy of your personal information is one of our chief concerns. We will still continue to report member information to all three credit bureaus on a regular basis, but will align with TransUnion to pull credit. Should you have more specific questions about this process, please ask to speak with our Vice President of Lending or a loan supervisor.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind all of our members to be mindful of personal security measures, such as regularly reviewing your transaction history through online banking, signing up for eStatements, shredding all garbage with personal identifying information on it, and the importance of safeguarding and changing passwords regularly.
We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and provide pertinent updates as they are available and apply to our membership. While this breach is potentially catastrophic for Equifax, we do not want to alarm our members. Rather, we want you to know that we are a trusted and secure resource for you to come to with questions and concerns regarding this matter.